Chopines photographed in the Medieval and Renaissance Galleries at the V&A, London, 2014, Punched kid leather over carved pine, Venice, Italy, c.1600 V&A: T.48+A—1914 © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Within your brain is a "map" showing which brain-areas correspond with and control your various body parts. And it's obviously kind of important that the body-image map is correct. However, sometimes things don't get updated - as can happen when someone has a limb amputated. If the fact that the body-part is now missing doesn't register on the map, the map will show it as still being there, causing the person to feel like it is. (image)
And phantom limb syndrome can be even further complicated when sex gets involved.
Which can easily happen in the case of feet and genitalia, because as you can see from the diagram, they are controlled by areas of the brain that are adjacent. This location-location-location element can cause the genitalia area of the body-image map to mistakenly cross-wire with its neighbor, the map of your feet, resulting in foot fetishes. And if the foot happens to be a phantom because the correlation between the brain and amputated foot wasn't erased, the phantom foot can then become sexy.
As in orgasms-seXXXy.
(So if you're a shoe fiend of the highest order, feel free to blame your brain's wiring. You're welcome.)
Shoes: Pleasure and Pain at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London (June 2015 – January 2016) will examine extremes in footwear as demonstrated by 200 pairs of shoes from throughout the globe and across time - from a sandal decorated in pure gold leaf from ancient Egypt to the most elaborate in contemporary design.
In addition to showcasing the latest technology in shoe-making which make it possible to have ever higher heels and showstopping silhouettes, the exhibition will - more importantly, I think - ponder the cultural significance and transformative capacity of shoes.
(Atalanta Weller (b.1978) ‘Scotty’ boots Leather and polyurethane Designed in England, made in Portugal, 2010 V&A: T.94:1+2—2011. Image © Victoria and Albert Museum, London)
Pale-blue shoes, photographed on the mantelpiece in The Norfolk House Music Room, the British Galleries at the V&A, London, 2014 Silk satin with silver lace and braid England, 1750s V&A: T.70+A—1947; M.48+A—1962 (diamond and sapphire buckles. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Caroline Groves (b.1959) ‘Parakeet’ shoes. Leather, silk satin, solid silver talons and heel tips, and feathers England, 2014. Photography by Dan Lowe.
SHOES: Pleasure and Pain will be on display at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London from June 13, 2015 – January 31, 2016.
(Chopines, about 1600, © Victoria and Albert Museum, London)
- Lesley Scott